Canadian bowler rolls 300 game at 2016 USBC Open Championships

RENO, Nev. - As a competitor and as a coach, Matt Dammann of Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada, believes the ninth and 11th strikes in a perfect game are the most challenging.

The 28-year-old right-hander delivered both with precision Saturday at the National Bowling Stadium and added one more to polish off the second 300 of the 2016 United States Bowling Congress Open Championships.

"The ninth strike is important because it sets up the 10th frame, and if you can get the 11th one, you're able to relax and free roll a little because having the front 11 anywhere is pretty awesome," said Dammann, who made his fourth USBC Open Championships appearance. "Really, if you get to that point, you obviously have a good look, so it's all about repetition and relying on your training. There's definitely nerves, especially here, but the mindset is the same."

Dammann's perfect performance came after games of 246 and 195, and his 741 singles series is just outside the top 10 in Regular Singles this year at the NBS. Robert J. Bures of Painesville, Ohio, leads with 815, while Tim Janz of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, used the year's only other 300 to break into the top five with a 770 series on April 15.

Saturday's string of strikes wasn't Dammann's first run at perfection on the championship lanes, however.

In 2014, he started his final game of singles with 10 consecutive strikes, before a 10 pin ended his run. He finished with a then-best 698 singles series and career-high 2,064 all-events total.

Because travel from western Canada is a little more challenging, the Open Championships is the only major USBC event Dammann has been able to compete in, and three of his four appearances have come at the National Bowling Stadium, where he has gotten more and more comfortable.

He also made the trip to Reno to compete in the 2015 GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling VII presented by Silver Legacy.

"I love bowling in the Stadium and have since my first time here," Dammann said. "I feel like I have a really good look here, so I'm able to throw it with a little more confidence. Doing this here, at this tournament and with so many great people around me was really special. Last time I had the front 10 here, I ripped a 10 pin, so at least it was a good shot. This time, I just wanted to make another good pitch and let the pins fall. Luckily, this was my day."

Dammann added a 612 series in team and 556 in doubles for a 1,909 all-events total, and his name will be added to the short list of Canadian bowlers who have rolled perfect games at the Open Championships. The list includes - Rick Rhyno (1990), Ralph DiDomenico (1997), Stephen Gilliam (2000), Joe Ciach (2009), Mark Buffa (2013) and Graham Fach (2014).

During a two-year stint bowling collegiately for Vincennes, Dammann had the opportunity to meet Professional Bowlers Association Tour champion Jeff Carter of Springfield, Illinois, the captain of the six-team group Dammann now bowls with at the Open Championships.

Being a part of such a supportive group definitely helped make the moment Saturday even more special.

"The guys I bowl with are really nice and supportive, and I appreciate how they've accepted me into their group," Dammann said. "Having them behind me, along with family and a friend from home I didn't even know was going be here, makes it an even bigger deal. I'm also excited to have award rings from two different countries."

Bowling on the same squad, just a few lanes away, Justin Crumley of Washington, Missouri, made a run at the lead in Regular All-Events before settling into third place with a 2,075 total. He had 735 in singles, 688 in team and 652 in doubles. Bures also leads Regular All-Events with 2,122. 

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